Fruits and vegetables benefit kids in many ways, including improved nutrition, decreased obesity risk and better school performance, but most children don’t get the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day. One-half of children’s mealtime plates should be filled with fruits and vegetables in order to reap the benefits.
Children’s growing bodies require good nutrition, and fruits and vegetables contain a multitude of vitamins, minerals and other healthy compounds. Citrus fruits and strawberries are rich in immune system-boosting vitamin C, carrots are loaded with eye-healthy vitamin A and spinach is a good source of iron, a mineral that helps prevent anaemia. Apples contain 16 different polyphenols, which are antioxidants with health-promoting properties. Eating fruits and vegetables in a rainbow of colours will provide a wide range of nutrients that help keep kids healthy.
Fruits and vegetables are high in filling fibre, but low in fat and calories. Encouraging kids to eat fruits and vegetables instead of sugary snacks and fat-laden fast food can help children avoid obesity. Every16 percent of kids ages 6 to 19 are overweight, increasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, respiratory problems and depression.
High-fibre foods, such as fruits and vegetables, help the digestive system function properly. Constipation in kids can often be eased by eating more high-fibre prunes, apricots, plums, peas, beans and broccoli, according to the American Academy of Paediatrics. As fibre passes through the digestive system, it absorbs water and expands, which triggers regular bowel movements and relieves constipation.
Better School Performance
Children with healthy diets, including high consumption of fruits and vegetables, performed better on academic tests than children who consumed fewer fruits and vegetables in a study published in the April 2008 issue of the “Journal of School Health.” found that the kids with healthy diets were up to 41 percent less likely to fail literacy tests than the other children. A number of factors influence the academic performance of kids, but nutrition is an important contributor to better school performance, the report noted.
Oats keep a child's brain fed all morning at school.
Oats and oatmeal are excellent sources of energy and brain "fuel." Oats are packed with fiber to help keep kids feeling full so they don't snack on junk food. They are also an excellent source of vitamins E, B complex, and zinc to help kids' brains work their best.
Oatmeal can be a base for almost any topping such as apples, bananas, blueberries or even almonds.